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Sandakan pollution: NGO turns to Dutch for help
Published on: Friday, February 14, 2020
By: Winnie Kasmir
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SANDAKAN: Future Alam Borneo (FAB), an environmental NGO based in Sandakan, has been looking at the steady increase in pollution locally for years.

It observed little effort was done to find the source of the pollution and tackling it. 

According to its Chairman, Anton Ngui, the issue had always been someone else’s problem.

The decline in civic-mindedness troubled them to the extent that they went searching for solutions that might be transferable to Sandakan. 

The NGO first approached contacts in the Netherlands, which led to the meeting of the Dutch NGO ClearRivers (formerly known as Recycled Island Foundation). 

“ClearRivers will be visiting this year and supporting Sandakan with designs for litter traps and have offered the loan of a recycled plastics litter trap design, that they will ship to us for local use. 

“They will also be sharing knowledge on recycled plastic brick, developed by another Dutch designer, with huge potential for local habitation use,” he said Thursday.

In 2020, FAB won a grant from Yayasan Hasanah (the foundation of Khazanah Nasional), to finance a year-long project called Sandakan Plastics Solutions Project. 

Working directly with two water villages, namely Kampung Sim-Sim and Berhala Darat, the project aims to better understand the communities’ consumption patterns and waste generation, as baseline data of single use plastic creation.  

Supported by various partners such as the Dutch ClearRivers and Precious Plastics (blueprints for recycling machines) and Tonibung Create Borneo, technical partners in machine design & assembly from Penampang; FAB hopes to process the recyclable plastic and create a series of new products from the waste, in an attempt to replicate a more sustainable cycle of a product’s life.    

Concurrently, with partners in UK, FAB has also jointly won the Newton-Ungku Omar Fund grant, Phase 1, looking at transforming waste to wealth. Spearheaded by the UK NGO Leap Micro AD, with technical partners from University of West London and University College London, and local partners Arkitrek and LAX Global Resource, the collective will be studying local organic and plastic waste streams for creating new renewable technologies, of commercial value. 

The fund is jointly financed by Innovate UK and Might (Malaysian Industry-Government Group for High Technology). 

FAB hopes by better understanding and quantifying the plastic waste problem in Sandakan, and its strategy of creating diverse working partnerships, with local stakeholders directly involved, it will lead to achieving quantifiable and valuable outcomes. 

To follow the progress of the projects, FAB encourages the public to visit its social media pages. 

“Future Alam Borneo has a few contract openings for the projects above. The details can be found on our social media page. 

“Apart from that we are also looking for volunteers and supporters in all forms and sizes from the local community and afar,” he added. 



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